What is a BMET with Monty Gonzales
Oct 27, 2021
Chyrill Sandrini 00:15
Hello, everyone and welcome to HTM Insider. I’m Chyrill with MultiMedical Systems and I’m your host today. And we’re joined by Richard Monty Gonzales of CBET Biomed. school there in Texas. And we’re really excited to have him on because we’re gonna change gears a little bit today. I know we’ve been talking about some pretty hot topics of right-to-repair and a few other things. But we want to, you know, take a step back because I’m getting a lot of questions, Monty, about what is to BMET, and how do you become a BMET. So before we get started there, let’s talk about what has been your expertise, give us a little bit about your background, introduce yourself, to our viewers and our listeners,
I’ve actually only been in the industry for about four years. I’m a retired Army Warrant Officer, and once I left the military, got into education and kind of somehow worked my way into the College of biomedical equipment technology.
And this is just such a fascinating field and interesting, endeavor to be a part of,
especially in this day and age. So, you know, in terms of biomed background and experience, it’s, you know, I probably don’t enter into the career field in a traditional way.
Why don’t you talk about what CBET is? you know, because we do use that acronym. Yep. And it’s a certification but it’s actually a school and I will tell our viewers and listeners, you know, my daughter is a proud graduate of CBET. So tell us what what CBET is.
So the College of biomedical equipment technology has existed for about 15 years, we started off as something else. And went through many changes over the years and about four or five years ago, the current ownership structure we came in, took over, sort of reinvented, reimagined
and took a new look at what the college could be at our mission really is serving the healthcare technology management industry. And we do that by offering a certificate and an associate degree program for biomedical equipment technicians, we’re unique in in the approach that we take, we’re not a traditional school.
Our programs Currently our online programs,
the the ideal format, it can be a bit of a challenge. It is harder, in many respects.
and doing a good job running an online type of a school for a highly technical career field. So CBET as a college is is very unique in that way. But it’s also what’s made us really the largest producer of bio meds in the country. second only to the military school house at Fort Sam here in San Antonio. We offer certificate programs that are six months in length 24 credit hours, we have a an associate degree program, that’s an accelerated program that can be achieved in 15 months.
And we’re also doing some other things too. In January, we’re launching the Imaging Academy.
We’re going to be offering believe 21 different courses in imaging. And those courses will be online, hybrid, and at fixed site facilities in Las Vegas and in Georgia.
Chyrill Sandrini 03:57
Hey, exciting stuff on the horizon,
Let’s say I’m looking for a new career field, or I’m just getting out of high school. What requirements are needed to apply for admission to see but
Monty Gonazles 04:12
the admissions process is pretty basic. The one sort of admonition that I would share is that if you’re a young talented individual interested in working in the career field, I would steer you away from just a certificate program because we feel like the requirements of the biomed in today’s world are
growing increasingly technical and increasingly demanding. And we really like to see that the younger younger students, you know, engage in the full degree program to get that full experience as much education as possible.
There are a handful, your daughter included, you know younger lady
has done quite well and got
To work it fantastic companies like Banner Health.
And, you know, there’s some really good opportunities out there. But in terms of requirements to get into the school, if you’re motivated, hungry to work in the industry,
you know, good people skills, you’re good communicator,
if you know a little bit about it or have an interest in it, that always helps.
But we basically have the same requirements as any other college or university out there.
You know, graduate of high school, 18 years old and hungry to go work in an in a professional career field that
really services an ambitious, intelligent, motivated individual that wants to excel. fantastic career path.
Absolutely. Let’s talk about the attrition rate and why this is such a hot career field right now.
that’s a that’s a big issue in this industry right now.
It is definitely there’s, there’s, there’s I think there’s several factors converging,
that are leading to a lot of the upheaval that we’re seeing both in healthcare and in education.
One of the you know, you don’t have to look far to see the effects of COVID-19. Okay, and if we look at the short term, as I like to say, the 25 meter target, is the fact that COVID-19 is affecting all of us had a conversation with a colleague of ours, you know, this individual as well, recently.
And we talked about the
impact that the
organization’s mandate for vaccinations was going to have on his HTM workforce. And from that he’s predicting 10 to 20% decline in his staff.
That’s the 25 meter target. When we look at the other pressures and demands in the healthcare industry, specifically affecting biomeds.
It’s no secret that the that the workforce is aging, and that a new generation of motivate motivated, talented professionals is, is necessary. It’s urgent.
You know, so that’s kind of the short term and long term look at the industry and, and how it’s reshaping and why we’re in such a high demand. But also, you know, that that sort of upheaval, and chaos is just wonderful opportunity for somebody that’s motivated to get into this. And I should say, also, there’s one, one other type of entry student into our programs that is certainly worth noting.
And that’s the people like you and me, that had professional careers in other areas.
Who navigated into this industry and discovered this, I didn’t even know what a biomed was five years ago.
But who has realized the significant roles that in place that they hold in the industry and, and what a wonderful way to get back and contribute and have a life of service. It’s really meaningful.
I think it’s a great it’s a great time to get in. We interesting to see where our young generation, the 21, 22, 23 year olds are going to be in five years. Right? I’ll tell you a funny story. When I was started in this industry, I started on the business side of the industry. And when I was told that we were going to be involved in biomed
I thought I am not handling hazardous waste. So let’s clear up what a biomed actually is. There’s no hazardous waste involved. What is the biomed do day to day and and where do they work at?
One of our one of our star instructors here at the schoolhouse is Christian bond. And Christian is just a unique individual. The Fantastic reputation is a retired Air Force guy. He worked at the schoolhouse at Fort Sam and his last assignment the Air Force. And when we hired Christian through the skill Bridge Program recently I asked Christian I said okay, Christian, you’re in your words, tell me what a biomed is. And he said, That’s easy. A biomed is a solution architect.
Oh, I love it. I love it.
Yeah, yep. I love the description. And yeah, he said we’re problem solvers. We’re solution architects. And and it’s, it’s interesting because it’s sort of a loaded question. In terms of what does a biomed do it biomed can work in a healthcare delivery organization in a hospital as part of HTM team
servicing upwards of 700-800 pieces of equipment medical devices ranging from beds to, to you name it, you know, much more sophisticated networked medical devices to a, you know, an individual working in a warehouse at a manufacturer refurbishing equipment
to a technician on a flyaway team like MMS has,
servicing multiple contracts and multiple locations across the country,
that you know, the range of possible career paths and trajectories that an individual can take, or just really just, there’s so many different opportunities. Not to mention, it’s a if you if you have an entrepreneurial spirit, it is just a wide open market to start your own business. If you’re looking at some of these other premier ISOs that are out there and you’re like, I think I can do that myself. take a stab at it. We have quite a few of our graduates that actually go out and start throwing little companies and we watch them go through the years and just really impressive and they carve out niches.
Chyrill Sandrini 10:41
Yeah, I think that’s great as you can find your niche but really, you know, excites you whether you know, it’s the big iron like the MRI eyes, to ventilators, you know, anesthesia, you know, the specialty devices, or maybe you’re that field service technician, that loves going, you know, urgent care center to, you know, portable EDs, doc and doctors offices, surgery centers and endoscopy centers, and just be on the road. And like you said, Be or travel or work for somebody like us that you we have on demand texts that fly all over your, your travels paid for. There’s so many opportunities. I know we talked about AAMI and Danielle is a great reference.
Chyrill Sandrini 11:31
And you know, there’s schools like yourself, but you know, we’re going to be attending tech nation MD Expo coming up. Which do you encourage students to attend these conferences and I get more involved in the local chapters? Can you talk a little bit about that?
Yeah, definitely. So you know, there.
I’ve always thought that
mentors don’t find you, you find your mentors, but you’re not going to find them unless you’re looking in the right places. And you mentioned a couple of them you know, AAMI, AAMI’s a fantastic organization, they I think they’ve done more for Standardization nationally than any other organization truthfully just did a wonderful job.
MD Expo completely agree I love the team there they they they work passionately and
unwaveringly for the industry, they provide so much value to it.
And just to a wonderful little team, they work on the job site as well their HTM jobs team is is working as hard as they can to put people to work connecting with companies like yours and others out there. But the other, the other sources that you alluded to really kind of like to focus in on the one that the associations, the biomed associations, and
HTM organizations and whatnot that are out there, there. There’s some fantastic work being done.
recently had their annual conference up in Denver, Colorado, wonderful organization, dedicated to the industry giving back
literally, you know, wrote the requirements for the prep course, for the certification for, you know, BMET certification, heavily involved in the cap t certification development, just entrenched and things that are going on in the industry. And you know, they have their ear to the ground listening for what’s happening, and then they’re focused and they’re giving back. Same thing in Arizona, I was really happy to see that Perry Kerwin and his team out there was able to sort of revitalize and get the Arizona HTM society going again. But there’s there’s other societies out there doing equally good work. In Florida, you know, there, there’s the Central Florida Biomedical Society,
you know, doing fantastic work, there’s up in Wisconsin,
so many different organizations, I’m drawing a blank on, all the names California has got the biggest, you know, society out there doing great work.
So there’s just so many ways to get involved and find a mentor. You know, we’d encourage the students to graduate from our programs, figure out where you want to go where you want to be, and reach out to the societies that are nearest there and connect with those people. Because the people that gravitate towards those sort of endeavors and organizations, they are there because they want to give back you know, if you were to graduate from a college and say, you know, where should I turn to First, find a willing mentor, that’s where you want to be connect with that person and get some wind behind your sail, you know, so that you can lie.
That’s where a lot of internships and apprenticeship opportunities. And so our listeners know that there are a lot of apprenticeship opportunities that are paid once you get out of school.
So you’re not going to go work for free and try to work another full time job, you know, to pay the bills, but there are those opportunities are becoming more prevalent. Because the need is, is growing for for biomed.
Yeah, the apprenticeship program, since you mentioned it is really worth exploring. I, you know, it may not be for everybody, but it’s definitely for somebody. The, you know, it’s the AAMI sponsored apprenticeship program. It’s a two year apprenticeship program. And it’s good for companies, it’s good for the industry, and it’s good for students.
So if you’re, you know, young, hungry, motivated individual, and you want to get into a new career field, but maybe that traditional college path is not for you, or maybe, you know, for whatever set of circumstances, you’re ready to go to work today and not spend the time in the school that there, there’s a handful of companies, I think there’s seven or eight that are already approved apprenticeship providers
that will work with you put you to work, pay you while you learn. And then you accumulate the the educational components while you go.
Full Time fantastic opportunity. Again, Danielle, sort of spearheaded that for me. But it’s definitely worth checking out. And I think, you know, I think companies should gravitate towards that and support that effort. It’s good for the industry
Chyrill Sandrini 16:30
I agree. It’s great. Now let’s talk about that. The one thing that I think is kind of confusing, I’ve gotten this question a few times, how do I learn to work on medical equipment virtually?
Yes, so much. So much of what we are doing in this industry now is so far beyond the traditional mechanical types of
manifestation of what a biomed used to be. You know, we used to think of a biomed, turning wrenches, turning screws taking things apart, put them back together.
A tremendous amount of what a biomed does now doesn’t even have to do with that it has to do with management piece of it has to do with it pieces, cybersecurity, Information Systems.
A tremendous amount of that stuff can be taught online quite effectively.
The parts that are not able to be taught as effectively that do demand a hands-on experiential approach within our school are being supplemented in different ways.
working on virtual reality curriculum and content development to integrate into our programs. As an example, we’re right now we’re working on a MEDRAD injectors. And that’s going to be a virtual reality. In fact, we’re going to demo that in Las Vegas here in a few weeks when I see that’s, you know, that sort of stuff can be turned into virtual reality content that would allow a student to engage,
And the research indicates that a student that engages in that way, actually learns better than a student who gets a hands-on experience. And there’s a number of reasons for that. And one of them is opportunity to repeat the training, when a student can go into that virtual environment and repeat those tests until they master it. That’s sort of a different approach and level of education that a student can take out of that. The other piece, and this is even more critical and more important, and this is probably the most
vital piece of what I would like to share about our college and how we work in the industry. Our success as an educational institution in the healthcare field, rests
almost entirely on the relationships of trust that we have with our industry partners. So we provide the very best curriculum, we can we have the best instructional staff, we can hire. We put everything into our curriculum and content, we reinvest into that the virtual reality development is probably the best indicator. But at the end of the day, our ability to take a student and place them with a company that has a fantastic reputation in the industry. That is the hallmark of our success. So when a young lady like yourself says, hey, my daughter went to your school and she got a job.
We’ve met our we’ve done it and so but that doesn’t happen overnight, you have to build that trust with that organization.
And it’s funny I have conversations
with companies sometimes. And they asked that very question. How can you teach that? Well, we can only do so much. And then we’re going to turn to our industry partners and ask them to work with us. So our industry partners we’ve created a six week hands on experiential component of our programs.
When a student graduates our program, and we’ve given them everything we can the best instruction, we can provide the best curriculum, virtual reality content, everything with all the tools and resources, we can provide them at the end of that path, we’re going to turn to our industry partner and say, okay, we need, we need your support for six weeks to do a right seat ride with this student. And here’s a checklist of things we would like you to work with a student on for a six week period, evaluate them, engage with them, provide us the feedback, let us know what we’re doing well, what we’re doing poorly, so that we can make those changes to our programming. And then, at the end of that six weeks, the employer has the opportunity to hire that individual, we’ve had an extremely high success rate doing that.
That’s awesome. You know, I was really impressed with the anatomy component in the educational process. Because the Mets do, you know, have a lot of effect on inpatient care, I’ve never met a female that doesn’t care about the patient. It’s not about the equipment, it’s about the patient experience, right? Patient safe. Patient Safety is is paramount in this industry. And I really think that’s a great
Chyrill Sandrini 21:10
attribute that your school is providing in that anatomy portion that I was able to witness firsthand.
I appreciate that. And it’s interesting that you point that out our our anatomy and physiology instructor.
Her name is Loupe McKnight. She’s a wonderful lady. I’ve known her for about 15 years. And we regularly get feedback from our students indicating that they learned
a tremendous amount in that class, we want our graduates to leave this school and go to the work in the healthcare industry, knowing exactly what you said that patients are first safety is first, and that they’re saving lives to their work. They’re not just going there to calibrate equipment, maintain PMS, maintain a database. That’s all important. But all it does is serves the main purpose, which is helping physicians and clinicians and the health care staff the facility to save lives. Yeah, I really see that the HTM industry as some of the unsung heroes of the hospital and healthcare industry. They are Yeah, they’re the frontline. I mean, if you think about the, the number of pieces of medical equipment and medical devices and facilities and you know, it only takes one piece of the chain to break and the system stops, one of the areas that we’re really focused on in terms of our programming, and our content is what we call the space between the wall and the device, that’s really kind of where we’re focusing our biomed training in our curriculum, so that the next generation of technicians graduate, well versed in that area, and they show up in healthcare facilities with a robust understanding of what those those requirements are so that they organically and inherently understand Information Technology, information security, cybersecurity, medical device integration.
You know, there’s, there’s so much going on there that the investment of the industry and educational institutions, not just ours, but the others out there doing the same training.
Chyrill Sandrini 23:18
That’s an investment worth making. Definitely, yeah, I mean, things have changed, that, you know, shoot you and I remember when the first microwave came about, let alone
Chyrill Sandrini 23:32
when the first remote control for a TV came out. And now look at us, everything’s wireless. You know, cybersecurity is a real threat to hospitals and patient safety.
Yes, it is. And we have looked at numerous case studies, including,
you know, actual patient death as a result of
cybersecurity, you know, risk and then attack cyber attack. So
it’s a very real component of what biomed are involved in
understanding software, understanding versions, understanding update requirements,
you know, you cannot just take for granted or be complacent about who’s responsible for that.
And you know, organizationally, you know, there are very few HDO’s that are structured in the same way. You know, it’s always interesting to look at different structural components, some biomed departments fall under IT, some HTM departments are running parallel to their IT departments and have no communication.
But you know, those those dynamics are important, the organizational relationships are important.
And all we can do as an educational institution, is ensure that the graduates leave at our program understand that,
Chyrill Sandrini 25:00
yeah, we have, we have Nader Hammoud coming on as a guest which he’s a big advocate between it and biomed. How to work together as a team. So we’re all on the same team. It’s it’s all faith focused on patient care, right? Yep. So I’ve got to tell you, Kelly did her first PM yesterday with her with her trainer, she was so excited. She was on cloud nine, told me all about it. I mean, couldn’t stop talking about it. So that was exciting for me.
Chyrill Sandrini 25:29
But we’re gonna wrap this up. And what I like to do is in every segment with your wow word, which is your word of wisdom, if you can, like put it in one word, or a couple words, you know, what, what is a BMET? And why should you become a BMET? Just give us like something to hang on to.
Monty Gonzales 25:47
So I’ll go back to the first thing that I said when you asked me what is it biomed.
biomed is a solution architect. And the problem is changing rapidly. To be a successful biomed. In today’s healthcare industry, you have to think in terms of revolution, not evolution, because things are moving so quickly that it’s difficult to keep up. So that’s a few more words than you probably
that’s where that’s where I would leave this conversation rapid change expected. Be agile, nimble. And go back to what you said was, you know, your job is taking care of patients.
Yep. 100%. Well, thanks for coming on Monte. We’ll post information maybe how to get ahold of you. If they want more information. And we really appreciate your time today.
Thank you so much. I feel the same. I love your company, your leadership team out there. You guys are doing great work. And I look forward to seeing you in Vegas.
Yes, absolutely. All right. Thank you.
Thank you. Bye.